Calgary, Alberta – Olympic Champions Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON, and Hickstead won the $1 million CN International for the second time in their career on Sunday, September 11, at the Spruce Meadows “Masters” Tournament in Calgary, AB.
An international field of 35 horses tackled the tough two round track set by Olympic mastermind Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela. None could match the perfection displayed by Lamaze and Hickstead as they posted two clear rounds, despite losing a shoe on course during the second round. As the pair sailed over the final fence to clinch victory, the record crowd of 89,632 show jumping fans erupted in cheers as Lamaze threw his helmet into the air and galloped around the International Ring to a standing ovation.
“What a horse!” exclaimed Lamaze, who also won the event in 2007. “It is just as exciting as it was the first time, if not more. The money is great, but to have his name attached to the title twice means a lot. As he nears the end of his career, I am so happy for my horse.”
In addition to claiming the first place prize money of $325,000 in the CN International, Lamaze was also awarded a $50,000 bonus for winning his second CN-sponsored event of the 2011 season. That brought Lamaze’s all-time career earnings at Spruce Meadows to more than $3.5 million. “This is the Grand Prix that you dream about winning,” said Lamaze, who is currently ranked the number one show jumping rider in the world. “I dreamed about it when I was a kid, and I think a lot of riders dream about winning it.”
Lamaze has been riding Hickstead, a 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by Ashland Stables and Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable since the horse was seven. “I know him very well, and he wants to jump clear just as much as I do,” said Lamaze of his mount. “I don’t come to Canada very often - I only come here to Spruce Meadows in the summer and then back for the “Masters,” so to win here is very special. He is the best horse in the world, in my opinion, and for him to show it here to his Canadian fans is great.”
Lamaze was also handed the keys to a new Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 as the leading Canadian rider after claiming victory four out of the five days comprising the 2011 Spruce Meadows “Masters” Tournament. On Wednesday, he and Hickstead won the $35,000 Finning Welcome. Riding Coriana van Klapscheut, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable, Lamaze won Thursday’s $40,000 ATCO Structures & Logistics Cup and Saturday’s $80,000 Suncor Energy Winning Round. Also on Saturday, Lamaze and Hickstead jumped double clear to lead Canada to a second place finish in the $350,000 BMO Nations’ Cup.
While Hickstead and Coriana van Klapscheut are competing in Canada, Lamaze’s other two top mounts, Atlete Van’t Heike and Sidoline van de Centaur, are awaiting the Nations’ Cup Promotional League Final in Barcelona, Spain, from September 21 to 25. Lamaze will then be a member of the Canadian Equestrian Team at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, from October 25 to 30.
Photo: Olympic Champions Eric Lamaze and Hickstead won the $1 million CN International on Sunday, September 11, at the Spruce Meadows “Masters” Tournament in Calgary, AB. Photo Credit – Bob Langrish